As a nurse, I worry for every baby who hasn’t been vaccinated

Russian Nurses Association

Natalya Saulskaya is Head Nurse of the newborn unit in the Regional Perinatal Centre in Tomsk, Russian Federation. Confronted with vaccine hesitancy and refusal she decided to take action. This is her story:

“Women with increased pregnancy and health risks come to our centre to give birth, and immunization of newborns is one of our tasks. At times, for medical reasons, immunization can be postponed, but more and more frequently we face mothers refusing to vaccinate their babies. Society is divided – anti-vaccination groups are fighting with those who support full vaccination.

Being a nurse, I worry for every baby who hasn’t been vaccinated. I decided to make a survey and to check what women know and think about vaccination. Forty women took part in this survey and it showed that all of them were aware of the reasons for vaccination, but 10 of them had no idea about the risks of refusing. They did not realize their responsibility in this and did not understand that the baby would be at risk with every contact with other children.”

Nurses convince mothers to vaccinate

“I decided to implement a programme which involves discussing vaccination with the mother before the baby is delivered. If a woman indicates she will refuse, then she is given all the information about the history of vaccination and what the health of the population was like before vaccines were available. The woman is then given time to think and when her baby is born, she is asked about vaccination once again.

When we repeated the survey just 2 out of 40 women refused vaccination. This showed that the nursing intervention was successful. But it also showed that we still have work to do, as there are still babies who are left unvaccinated. I hope that, with the help of our colleagues in children’s outpatient clinics, we will one day manage to vaccinate all babies.”